There are two things that all the very best creatives I’ve met have in common – and take it from me, I met a lot of them the past few years. First, they are always down to earth. Tom Dixon, one of the world’s most famous designers, once told me that he was still skeptical he was a designer at all!  The other character trait truly talented people always seem to have is the ease with which they talk about their work. The best example I can think of was interior designer Gert Voorjans, who couldn’t stop talking when he showed me around his Antwerp home. ANYWAY! The reason I’m telling you all this, is that I got to meet one of the world’s very best stylists the other day. That man is Maarten Spruyt and yes, he was down to earth and loved talking about his work – right after we both left a very crowded party at the home of Hans Lensvelt in Amsterdam, where Maarten had just announced he is going to design the NOTHING NEW exhibition at the Museo Diocesano during this year’s Salone del Mobile. Will it help win Lensvelt the prestigious Milan Design Award for the third time in a row? Fingers crossed!

Maarten SpruytMaarten Spruyt was kind enough to pose for a photo – what a nice guy! 

The concept behind NOTHING NEW is nothing short of spectacular. In a world that really, really doesn’t need another new chair, Lensvelt has decided to buy back a selection of his company’s ubiquitous desks and office chairs on the Dutch second-hand trading website Marktplaats. It’s a brilliant idea, if you ask me. What’s going to make it even more brilliant, however, is that Maarten Spruyt is going combine them with a series of kinetic sculptures à la Rockit by Herbie Hancock.

Luckily, I’m old old enough to remember this legendary 1983 video. It was directed by Godley & Creme (remember them?) and featured mechanical sculptures by British artist and inventor Jim Whiting. You really should check out the South of Watford documentary I just discovered on YouTube.

Whiting’s work revolves around many themes that feel very current again to Maarten Spruyt. Just like in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the world nowadays is highly political and moving very quickly. Moreover, Maarten told me, NOTHING NEW is the perfect antidote to the all the empty Salone del Mobile that feature little more than perfect still lives of perfect products. Instead, Maarten wants to provoke different emotional responses by making unexpected combinations with his tongue firmly in his cheek. I can only say that I can’t wait to see it all.  And if any of my students at Artemis are reading this, let me tell you that GOOD STYLISTS NEVER, NEVER, EVER find true inspiration on Pinterest. You have to dig deeper, just like Maarten did. There, I had to get that off my chest.

You can see NOTHING NEW at the Museo Diocesano on Corso di Porta Ticinese 95 from Tuesday, 17 april 2018. Insider tip: be sure to drop by for a drink at Bar Anne at the same location. I’ll see there…for more than one reason. But more about that later.